The name PayPal is synonymous with P2P payments and digital wallets for consumers, but over the years PayPal has also dabbled in creating options for users to pay with their PayPal balances in stores. Despite a few failed attempts, PayPal seems to finally have worked out the kinks in the process. PayPal users can now use near field communication (NFC) technology to spend their balances at brick-and-mortar shops.
Wondering “how do I pay with PayPal in stores?” Do you have other questionsÂ about PayPal payments or how PayPal works in general? The answers aren’t always easy to find. Thankfully, Merchant Maverick is here to help. Let’s take a look at the answers to these questions and more and set the record straight about all things PayPal!
How Do You Pay With PayPal In A Physical Store?
If you have a PayPal balance and you want to spend it in a brick-and-mortar store, you actually have two options: NFC-based payment using your Android phone, or a PayPal-issued card (of which there are several options).
It’s also important to know that PayPal has discontinued two in-store payment options it previously offered: payment codes and the mobile phone + pin method. (Support ended for both on March 31, 2018.)
Let’s start with looking at the card options PayPal offers, and then we’ll talk about NFC payments with PayPal.
PayPal offers MasterCard-backed debit cards for business and personal users, depending on what type of account you have. For consumers, there’s even a prepaid card that allows you to load your PayPal balance in set increments, among other perks.Â These cards are linked to your PayPal balance and even allow you to withdraw cash from ATMs at no charge from PayPal (the machines themselves may still charge a fee).
PayPal also offers two branded credit cards (though, apart from depositing cash back rewards into your bank account, these cards have very little to do with your actual PayPal balance). TheÂ PayPal Cashback MasterCard (read our review) and the PayPal Extras MasterCard (read our review) offer different perks and incentives for their users.
Can You Use PayPal Credit In Stores?
Currently, PayPal doesn’t support the use of PayPal Credit in stores. Note that PayPal Credit exists separately from PayPal’s credit cards. PayPal Credit specifically applies to online purchases and offers 6 months of no-interest financing on purchases.
Where Can You Pay With PayPal In Stores?
There’s no specific list of businesses or locations that accept PayPal payments in-store, because the debit and credit cards are accepted by any merchant that can process MasterCard, which… is just about any business that can process credit cards to begin with. Likewise, to accept NFC payments, merchants need to have the appropriate hardware — specifically, an NFC-capable credit card reader or terminal.
How Do You Set Up PayPal NFC Payments?
At the time of writing this (February 2019), PayPal doesn’t currently support NFC payments from directly within the app itself.Â Instead, PayPal has opted to form a partnership with Google to allow Android phone users to connect PayPal to their Google Pay accounts and even make it the default payment option. That means in order to pay with PayPal in stores, you need an Android phone that supports Google Pay.
However, you can connect your PayPal balance to Google Pay from within the PayPal app. PayPal will ask you to set a PIN and also specify a top-up amount if your PayPal balance drops below a certain threshold or your PayPal balance doesn’t have enough funds to complete a purchase. (You should also open the Google Pay app and make sure that all of your settings are as you would like on the Google end of things.)
Samsung Galaxy users can also add a PayPal account to Samsung Pay if they prefer. Both options are easily accessible within the Settings menu of the PayPal mobile app.
Can You Add PayPal to Apple Pay?
Unfortunately, PayPal does not currently support NFC payments with Apple devices, and you cannot link your PayPal balance to Apple Pay or Apple Pay Cash. That may change in the future, but for now, it’s not an option. You won’t see an option to link PayPal in the Apple Pay wallet setup, or in the PayPal app on an iOS device.
However, Apple does allow you to link your PayPal balance to your iOS account so that you can use PayPal to pay for iTunes purchases, as wellÂ as iCloud and Apple Music subscriptions. By enabling PayPal’s One Touch feature, you can eliminate the need to log into your PayPal account to authorize each purchase.
How Can Merchants Accept PayPal Payments?
The good news is you don’t have to be a PayPal merchant to accept payments from PayPal customers in stores. (If you want to accept PayPal payments online, that’s another story and I suggest you check out our PayPal review to see whether the company’s merchant services fit your needs.)
Keep in mind that customers have two ways to pay with PayPal: using one of PayPal’s MasterCard-backed debit or credit cards, or NFC payments. The good news is that if you already accept debit or credit card payments, you don’t need to do anything more to accept PayPal cards. As long as your agreement includes MasterCard processing (and it almost certainly does), you’re good to go! If you don’t currently accept credit/debit cards and are considering making the leap, we recommend checking out our top-rated credit card processors as a starting point!
For most customers to pay with NFC via Google Pay, you (the merchant) need to have NFC-enabled hardware. Look for the contactless payment symbol on your credit card reader/terminal, or check the specs in the user manual or online. Samsung Pay users can use a nifty feature called MST (magnetic secure transmission) to emulate a card swipe even if the terminal doesn’t support NFC hardware, but you likely won’t see this feature used very often.
PayPal offers an almost dizzying array of payment tools for both consumers and merchants, and it’s likely we’ll see the features list grow even longer in the future. Will we see NFC support in the PayPal app directly, or added support for Apple Pay? Currently, that’s an unknown, but in the meantime, we can all appreciate the fact that the future has finally arrived and we can actually spend our PayPal balances in stores — not just online.
The post How To Use PayPal In Stores (And Other PayPal Questions) appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
If you’re in the market for a mobile card reader and a credit card processing app, there’s no shortage of options. The trick is finding the right option for a given business. One of the big factors that determine which apps are suitable is what kind of smartphone or tablet you have. Fortunately, if you have an iOS device — that is, an iPhone or an iPad — you have plenty of options.
Our Top Picks For iOS-Based Credit Card Readers & Mobile Apps
The first decision when choosing a card reader and mobile processing app is selecting the device itself. For the most part, iOS-compatible mobile apps and readers support iPhones and iPads alike with no major issues. But after you’ve narrowed down the list of apps based on supported devices, you’ve still got several other factors to consider — transaction costs, monthly fees, essential features, whether you want a standalone mobile app or something that supports invoicing and online payments… and that’s just to get the list started! The cost of the card reader and accepted payment methods are just as important as app features when you’re dealing with mobile processing.
So without further ado, here’s a list of our favorite card swipers and mobile apps for iPhones and iPads, as well as why we like them.
BBPOS Chipper BT (chip and swipe, $75; swipe, chip and contactless, $100)
Payment Depot (Swipe Simple)
Payment Depot (read our review) offers a subscription-based pricing model for its merchant accounts, with a host of software options for businesses to choose from (including Clover). Standard pricing plans for Payment Depot start at $49/month, with transactions processing at interchange + $0.15.Â However, if you’re looking for a mobile solution that runs on an iPad or iPhone, Payment Depot offers the Swipe Simple app, and Merchant Maverick readers can get access to special pricing that’s competitive even for low-volume merchants.
With this exclusive plan, you’ll get the Swipe Simple app and payment processing at 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction, with only a $10 monthly account fee. Remember, this is a Merchant Maverick exclusive, so you’ll need to use our link in order to get the special pricing.
Swipe Simple is a very functional credit card processing app. It runs on iPhone and iPad devices, as well as Android hardware. It even comes with a demo mode so you can test out the app before you sign up, which is always nice to see. There’s limited inventory management, but you can track stock counts. There’s even an offline mode. Check out our Payment Depot Mobile/Swipe Simple review for a closer look at the software.
In addition to the app, Payment Depot offers a choice of two readers. The Swift B200, a Bluetooth-enabled reader that supports magstripe and chip card transactions, is available to merchants for free. If you’d like to add contactless payments, you can get the Swift B250 for just $25, which is a fantastic price for an all-in-one card reader.
Shopify (read our review) is mostly known for its ecommerce platform, but it has also developed a quite powerful POS app that integrates with its online shopping tools. Shopify POS is included for free in all standard Shopify ecommerce plans, but if you don’t plan to sell online or only need some very basic online sales tools, there’s another option: Shopify Lite (read our review), which lets you create “buy” buttons and run a Facebook store for online sales, as well as giving access to the Shopify POS.
Shopify Lite will run you $9/month and 2.7% per transaction, which is a reasonable cost. The POS app runs on both Android and iOS, but an iPad offers the best user experience and access to the most features. However, keep in mind that the Lite plan is still limited even with an iPad; specifically, there’s no support for a cash drawer, barcode scanner, or receipt printer. That feature is only accessible with the Shopify Basic plan, which costs $29/month and includes a full web store with unlimited products.
Shopify also offers a free Chip & Swipe Reader for its merchants. It retails for $29 normally, which is still a great price for a Bluetooth-enabled chip card reader. We’ve reviewed the Shopify Chip & Swipe reader already, and you can check that out for a closer look.
Square’s mobile point-of-sale app, simply called Square Point of Sale, gets aÂ lotÂ of love, and rightfully so. The appÂ is free to use and you only pay a per-transaction fee of 2.75%. Square’s pricing makes it very attractive for low-volume and startup businesses, and there is an assortment of hardware options available. The Square Point of Sale app supports both iOS and Android devices, but certain features are not universally supported. An iPad gives you access to the vast majority of these features, but the iPhone supports all of the core features and many of the secondary, non-universal features. Check out our in-depth Square POS review for a comprehensive look at the free POS app and its features. For a closer look at the rest of Square’s products, check out our complete Square review.
As far as hardware goes, let’s start with the basics. Square has been offering a free basic magstripe reader for a long time, and it still does. (Note: you can also get the Square reader in some retail stores for $10.) However, the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack from newer iPhone models has complicated matters somewhat. Square responded by rolling out a Lightning port magstripe reader. When you sign up for your free Square account, you can choose which model of reader you need. Square no longer offers multiple free readers; after the first one, you’ll pay $10 per reader.
However, it’s important to also consider accepting EMV chip cards, especially if you’re doing a consistent volume of business or large transactions. Square’s Contactless + Chip Reader supports both EMV and contactless NFC payments. It includes a separate magstripe reader for swipe transactions.
The Contactless + Chip Reader sells for $49, but Square does offer financing for hardware purchases that cost at least $49 (convenient, isn’t it?). You can also purchase cash drawers, receipt printers, and even tablet stands directly from Square.
Want to know more about Square’s hardware? Check out A Guide to Square Credit Card Readers & POS Bundles for an in-depth look at your options.
Fattmerchant Mobile isn’t an option that I talk about a lot, mostly because it’s best targeted at high-volume businesses. However, until recently, it was an iOS-exclusive, and even now, the iOS platform is more robust than its Android counterpart. Fattmerchant (read our review) offers customers their own merchant accounts, which translates to a high degree of account stability. Its Omni platform, which includes the mobile processing app, invoicing, and a customer database and inventory management, combines many core features in a single platform. Check out our Fattmerchant Mobile review for a more comprehensive look at the app and its features.
Fattmerchant operates on a subscription pricing model, with a monthly fee that starts at $99/month. Mobile and invoice transactions cost interchange fees + $0.15 per transactions — there’s no percentage markup at all. However, if you opt for the mobile credit card carder, you’ll get the card-present rate of interchange fees + $0.08 per transaction. You can simply key in all the transactions if you prefer — just know that you’ll pay higher interchange fees in addition to the $0.15 markup.
Fattmerchant offers a choice of two different card readers, the BBPOS Chipper BT and the BBPOS Chipper X2 BT. The Chipper BT model supports both magstripe and chip card transactions and connects to your device via Bluetooth. It goes for $75. The Chipper X2 adds contactless payment support to the magstripe and chip card readersÂ and also connects via Bluetooth. It goes for $100.
While I have no qualms with saying the four options I’ve presented are the best of the best, there are a couple of other mobile apps and card readers that are good options for iPhone and iPad users. So let’s talk about them!
PayPal Here integrates with the rest of PayPal’s services so that you can sell online and in person seamlessly, much like Square. While it doesn’t offer quite as many features as Square, it’s still a very functional mobile app. Check out our PayPal Here review for a closer look at all the features.
PayPal Here processes payments at 2.7% per transaction, with keyed entry at 3.5% + $0.15. PayPal no longer offers a free card reader. Instead, you’ll need to shell out $15 to get its magstripe reader. PayPal will also place limits on your account if you opt for the magstripe reader, making it viable mostly for very low-volume businesses. As an alternative, PayPal offers two Bluetooth enabled cardreaders, starting with the Chip and Swipe reader, for $24.99.
If you also want contactless support, PayPal’s Chip and Tap Reader (retail price $59.99; bundle with stand $79.99). However, there’s another option for iPad users who want a more robust software option: Vend (read our review) with a PayPal integration. You’ll get PayPal’s 2.7% rate for payment processing with no monthly fee from PayPal. Of course, you’ll have to choose your Vend plan as well — and get the appropriate hardware. You’ll need the PayPal Chip Card Reader, which goes for $99.
SumUp (read our review) isn’t quite as complex or feature-laden as some of the other options on this list, but if you just need an iPad or iPhone credit card reader and app, SumUp will get the job done. Payments process at 2.65%, and there’s no monthly fee to use the software. For a better idea of how SumUp stacks up against the competition, I suggest checking out our Square vs SumUp comparison.
SumUp’s cardreader, at $69, is definitely a little expensive, but it’s a beautifully designed piece of hardware. It’s Bluetooth enabled and supports magstripe, chip card, and contactless payments. You can also occasionally catch it on sale for a reduced price. I suggest checking out our SumUp unboxing review for a closer look at the reader.
Which iPhone/iPad Credit Card Swiper Is Right For You?
In payment processing, especially mobile processing, it’s impossible to take a one-size-fits-all approach, so it’s really important that you, the business owner, spend some time figuring out what features you need in a credit card processing app. You should also consider what kind of pricing model works best for your business, and do the math to see what you’d really pay with each option on your short list. And of course, there’s the card swiper, too. While a free magstripe reader might be enticing, you should really consider upgrading to a chip card-capable reader to protect your business.
BBPOS Chipper BT (chip and swipe, $75; swipe, chip and contactless, $100)
The takeaway is that there is no shortage of great credit card processing apps for iPhone and iPad users! And you’ll get a great assortment of credit card readers to go with. Don’t forget to check out our companion article, The Best Credit Card Reader Apps to Android.
Thanks for reading! What’s your favorite credit card processing app and mobile card reader for iOS devices?
The post The Best Mobile Credit Card Readers For iPhone and iPad appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
Thinking about using Square to process payments for your business? Whether you are a solopreneur or a busy boss running multiple locations, you can quickly set up an account with Square with little to no fuss. Square offers several time-saving benefits for the small business owner looking to start processing payments, including no credit checks, a free magstripe reader to get you started, and a free Square POS app which enables you to start taking credit card payments right away. Not only that, but the Square dashboard offers analytics reporting, inventory management, alerts, and (with optional add-on software) even the ability to plan email marketing campaigns!
With all of these conveniences and freebies, you can expect slightly higher transaction fees than you’d get with a traditional merchant account. However, as a third-party processor, Square offers a very transparent pricing plan that starts at 2.75% per swipe dip or tap, and 3.5% + 15 cents for keyed-in transactions. You wonât be surprised with hidden fees or contracts, and you can enjoy the same processing rate for all major credit cards. Square also offers payment dispute assistance, chargeback protection, and secure, PCI compliant software â all included.
If your interest in Square is piqued, but you need a little more information before getting started, then you’ve landed on the right post! Below, we’ll take you step-by-step through the process of signing up for a new Square account. As you will see, setting up your Square account is relatively straightforward. And the best part? Itâs completely free and requires no commitment on your part whatsoever.
What Do You Need To Get Started?
Before we get started, here is the main information youâll need to set up your Square account:
Last four digits of your Social Security number (to confirm your name)
Bank account number to set up your direct deposit schedule
You don’t need:
Proof of revenue
Your full social security number
A credit check
We are going to get pretty detailed in this tutorial, but rest assured, the application itself takes less than ten minutes. Follow along with the guide below to discover how to set up and make the most of your new Square account!
How To Create A Free Square Account
First, visit Squareâs sign-up page and hit the âSign Up With Squareâ button.
The next screen is straightforward and asks if you are an individual or represent a larger business, charity, or religious organization. Enter in your business name or another title that you would like to appear on your receipts. I’m typing in “Blue Heron Content” as my business name.
Now we are getting closer to the meat â Square wants to know where you plan on processing payments. In this example, I donât want to limit myself, so I am choosing all of the possibilities!
It’s important to mention that even if you don’t plan to use some of these options right away, you can still access them later at any time.
Next, Square asks what else they can help you manage. I am also going to select all of the options again to get a better idea of what Square may suggest right off the bat. I donât personally need employee tracking for my business, but letâs see what it can do!
Now it’s time to make decisions. Because I selected that I was interested in restaurant-related products, I am offered a free 30-day trial of Square for Restaurants, one of Square’s premium iPad POS apps. (Check out our full review of Square for Restaurants for a more detailed look at pricing and features.) If you are a restaurant owner, check out some of the perks Square lists below. For this particular tutorial, though, we are going to stick with the free POS system.
Now that I have selected Square Point of Sale as my preferred POS app, I’ve made it to the âLetâs talk about youâ page. This is the place to plug in the rest of your information. Note that Square is not going to perform a credit check on you or your business, they just need the last four digits of your social security number or ITIN, your legal name, street address, and phone number. They use this information to verify your identity.
I’ve finished filling in this form, so I am going to hit “continue” and see whatâs next on our journey.
Choose A Magstripe Reader
Great news! By the time you arrive at the next screen below (3-5 seconds, give or take), Square will have successfully verified your identity. Now it’s time to select a credit card reader to accept in-person payments. For my part, while the Contactless + Chip Reader looks very enticing at $49, I am going to accept the free reader for now.
Now there’s another choice to make. Square would like to know if I would like the 3.5mm magstripe reader that is compatible with the traditional headphone jack, or the Lightning connector version for iOS devices. Iâm choosing the reader that plugs into a conventional audio jack. You’ll obviously choose the option that works best for your business setup.
Compatibility Note: Square’s magstripe and chip card readers and the Square Point of Sale (POS app) are compatible with most Apple iOS and Android devices running the latest software updates. After this tutorial, check out our Square POS Review for more about system requirements, integrations, and a lot more details about Square POS.
After selecting the type of magstripe reader that fits your needs, Square will give you the options to find a retailer close to you and pick up the reader or have it mailed. Personally, I’m opting for Square to send me the reader in the mail. After entering my shipping details, I am one step closer to getting my own Square reader. Oh, and shipping is free, too! Just note that it could take up to 10 days for yours to arrive.Â
After entering my information and clicking continue, the setup process is officially complete!Â That was very easy. Square has already sent me an email letting me know when to expect my reader and another to confirm my email address.
It’s time to head to the new dashboard to set up the backend.Â
How To Set Up Your Square Dashboard
Right away, you can see that the dashboard has a clean layout and is pretty straightforward. Since this is the first time I am visiting this new dashboard, Square is offering up these green bubbles as a setup guide. Letâs explore the dashboard and start setting up inventory, customizing the layout, and checking out the reporting features.
Compatibility Note: Youâll be able to access the full Square dashboard from any web browser, but the Square Dashboard app is only compatible with iPhones at this time. You can still take payments on any compatible iOS and Android device with the Square POS app, however.
Add Items & Build Your Inventory
From your home screen, you will see the teal Items button (pictured in the screenshot above). The place to add inventory is under Items>Item Library. To the right on the screenshot below, note the blue button that says âCreate an Itemâ:
Here is what the “Create an Item” screen looks like in the Square Dashboard before adding a product:
I went ahead and uploaded a product image and filled out my first item below. I can add the amount of stock I have, a price, and set up low-stock alerts for myself here, too! Square will even let me color-code items if I prefer to group categories by colors.Â
It’s also possible to create variant items if you sell the same product in different colors and/or sizes. Plus, for cafes and restaurants, there’s a “modifier” option. Say, for example, that you want to offer coconut, soy, and almond milk alternatives for customers in your coffee shop. You can do that, and even set an upcharge fee for these items using the modifier feature.Â There’s also an option to specify at which locations an item is available if you have more than one shop.Â
Create & Manage Locations
You can create multiple locations from within your Square Dashboard by going to “Accounts and Settings” and then to “Business” and selecting “Locations.” Square will even let you specify a mix of physical locations with a set address and mobile locations without one.
Square’s location management features can help you manage inventory and gather data from multiple stores â and it is totally free:
Linked locations and deposit options
Per-location item libraries
Device management for security
Reporting tools to compare/contrast sales or other data
Square also offers advanced tracking and reporting tools for individual employees across your locations. More on those features and cost in the Employee Management section.
Manage Sales Tax Settings
You will find Square’s sales tax settings nestled under the Items menu in your dashboard.
When you create a tax at your Square Dashboard, the tax will automatically sync to every device in your account, and you can specify which taxes apply to which locations. You can even build the tax into the price of the item if you prefer, rather than adding the tax to the price afterward. Square also lets you modify tax settings from within the mobile POS app as well, which is useful when you need to make changes on the fly.
In addition to multiple tax rates, you can create conditional tax rules, which are preset conditions in which a tax won’t be applied â whether you need that to apply to one item or the entire order. This is especially helpful for restaurants that handle online orders.
Now, let’s head back to the home screen and customize our dashboard layout, and then check out the reporting features!
Customize Your Dashboard Layout
Customizing the layout of your Square Dashboard is super easy. First, you can get rid of anything you know you wonât need right off the bat by scrolling through and unchecking anything in the drop-down menu (pictured on the right-hand side of the screenshot below). Donât worry about making the wrong decision, because you can reset the whole thing or click to re-check one box.
The other way to easily adjust your view is by dragging and dropping the tiles to configure them exactly how you want them. For my store, I switched tiles to move the feedback tile up from the last row. This drag-and-drop feature makes it easy to get the information you prioritize first, and then scroll to other options whenever needed.
As you can see, it’s simple to move things around, and if you change your mind, just as easy to change it back.
Review Square’s Reporting Features
The extensive, user-friendly and (mostly) free reporting features are what make Square a fantastic, no-fuss choice for any small business. As you can see in the screenshot below, there is a long list of possible reports. Every business has unique needs, and Square does a good job of supporting a wide range of small businesses with various options and features.
All of the sales reports, such as Sales Summary, Sales Trends, Items Sales, and Modifier Sales, are free. Custom Reports is another handy and entirely free reporting tool that can help you combine and compare your reporting data. Custom Reports allows you to aggregate reports with multiple filtering options. This feature makes it easy work to create a report that breaks the data down for a single location, or you can pick and choose certain pieces of data and compare them across different locations.Â For instance, you could create one report that compares Gross Sales and Returns for a particular device and/or location.Â
To find out even more about what Squareâs dashboard can offer you in terms of reporting features, check out our post Why We Like Squareâs Online Dashboard and Analytics App.
If you are looking for even more robust reporting and tracking across multiple locations for your employees, it may be worth it to you to learn more about the Employee Management tools, featured below.
Manage Your EmployeesÂ
Within the Dashboard, you’ll find the Employee section, which is the foundation for Square’s Employee Management feature set. Adding a new employee into your dashboard is easy â and adding in separate email logins for Square POS is entirely free. However, if you want advanced reporting on timekeeping, individual employee sales, and sales vs. labor costs, you need to subscribe to Employee Management, which will cost you $5 per employee.Â
Here, I have chosen to select the free “Mobile Staff” option to show you that you can invite employees using the email address that they will then use to log into the Square app. You can also enable or disable permissions for accepting payments in Offline Mode and set or remove Issue Refunds permissions.
It’s important to note that employees assigned to mobile staff can only access their own sales data in the Square POS app.Â
If you want something a bit more substantial in terms of employee reporting, Square offers that, too.Â To track individual employee sales through the day, keep better performance accountability across multiple locations, and closely monitor administrative permissions, the $5/mo per employee cost for the advanced Employee Management feature seems like a pretty fair deal. You also get timekeeping, so your employees can clock into their shifts through the Square POS app.Â
If you want to get started with Employee Management, there are a few ways to do it: Head to Employee Sales or Labor vs. Sales under Reports and start adding employees. It’s free to try for 30 days!
How To Set Up Square Deposits & Funding
When itâs time to get all of that revenue into your bank account, Square has several options for getting your money, all found under Deposits.
Square will automatically deposit your funds on the next business day. You can also change your âclose of dayâ to adjust for your time zone or business hours if you would like. The close of day determines when Square cuts off payment deposits for the next business day.Â If you need your money even faster, Square offers Instant Deposits that transfer your current Sales Balance immediately â whether itâs a business day or a weekend. This faster service will cost you 1% of the transfer amount. You can even use Scheduled Deposits to get your money deposited at each day’s close of business.Â
Find out all the details about the instant deposit feature, and more about how Square’s deposit options work in general, by checking out our post, How Does Squareâs Instant Deposit Work?
To set up your deposit schedule or choose an instant transfer, youâll need to link your debit card (in addition to your bank account). However, you have yet another option for disbursement. You can request your very own Square Card, a personalized business debit card that holds your Square balance.
You can use your card anywhere MasterCard is accepted. If youâd like to order one, youâll find “Square Card” tucked right under the Deposits tab. To be clear, you can request a Square Card and also choose to have funds deposited into your bank account.
Explore More Square Software Options
Square offers a myriad of specialized software options to make business more productive. Here are some of your options:
Customer Engagement: Square’s customer engagement tools includeÂ a customer database, feedback management, and CRM software. The database and feedback tools are free, but the CRM starts at $15 month.Â The image above is a sample CRM campaign I could send to my lapsed customer list. Email campaigns are easy to customize and segment for those reachable-by-email customers.
Loyalty Program:Â This tool starts at $25/month. Read our Square Loyalty Program Review for an in-depth analysis.
Advanced Employee Management:Â As outlined in a previous section, pay $5/month per employee for advanced reporting and employee management tools.
Payroll: Square Employee and Contractor payroll starts at $29/month plus $5/employee. Contractor-Only Payroll is just $5/month per contractor.
eCommerce: Square offers free space and setup for an online store, and you can integrate with major shopping carts. Read our Square Online Store and eCommerce Review.
Invoicing:Â Invoices are always free to send, pay 2.9% + 30 cents per invoice when your customer pays with credit or debit online. For more on the pros and cons, pricing, and an in-depth look at invoicing with Square, check out our Square Invoices Review.
Choose Another Square Point of Sale App
While the free Square POS app will likely fit the bill for many small businesses, Square has developed more specialized tools for retail, restaurants, and appointment-based businesses.
Square For Retail:
This POS system works with an iPad and has a redesigned interface and usability geared for retail businesses that have substantial inventory. Instead of scrolling to an item in your inventory, an item is easily searchable by name. The barcode scanning and printing features make keeping up with inventory a bit easier, too. Check out our Square Retail Review for more on price, pros and cons, and all a lot more details.
Square for Restaurants:
If you are familiar with Square’s POS system, you may be surprised to see how different Square for Restaurants really is. And it has to be. Sit-down restaurants usually require more specialized tools to cover their everyday business needs, and this POS delivers â from table mapping, menu creation, table management, and reporting tools â there are a lot of specialized features here. Check out our full Square for Restaurants review to find out if this is the right choice for your restaurant.
If your business relies on creating and maintaining appointments for just yourself or an entire team, Square Appointments might be just what you need. Note that this POS option is an iOS exclusive. It’s free for individual users, and pricing starts at $50 a month beyond that. Check out our in-depth Square Appointments Review, including functionality, customization, and features.
Choose Hardware Options
Square has expanded to offer so much more than the free magstripe credit card reader. As I mentioned earlier, Square offers a Contactless + Chip reader that lets you accept chip card and contactless payments for $49, which is a smart move to improve payment security.Â Â
If you need something more robust in terms of hardware, however, you can probably find what you need. Square offers countertop POS systems with customer-friendly displays, and if you want to toe the line between countertop vs. mobile, Square also offers a fully portable credit card terminal with a built-in receipt printer.
Squareâs countertop POS devices include:
Square Stand: This hardware option is a tablet stand with a built-in card reader (along with contactless and chip reader) with an affordable price tag, minimal cords, and a swivel stand.
Square Terminal: A more portable option, Square Terminal accepts magstripe, chip card, and contactless transactions. Itâs sleek design, built-in receipt printer, and generous display size make it a nice, versatile option.
Square Register: Need something more robust? The Square Register offers a 13.25-inch display to run your Square Point of Sale, and on the opposite side, you have a 7-inch customer display ready for magstripe, chip card, and contactless transactions.
For an in-depth look at each of the POS options or to take a gander at all the Square POS kits and bundles, head over to A Guide To Square Credit Card Readers And POS Bundles.
Where To Go Next With Square?
When you consider that Square is a secure, PCI compliant option with a transparent pricing plan and offers lots of bells and whistles, it truly is an excellent solution for any small business. I like that itâs so easy to set up an account with Square, and that they don’t ask for much in terms of personal information. When it is time to get set up or find reports, the dashboard is intuitive and easy to navigate. I also love that Square offers affordable hardware and software when it comes time to scale the business.
Not quite ready to make a decision? Check out our Square Review or head over to Square and set up your own account to see for yourself.
Already have an account?Â Square support provides great resources to help answer your questions as you navigate your options.
Have questions, comments? Leave us your thoughts below! (Just make sure you check our comment guidelines, first!)
The post How To Set Up A Free Square Account appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
Have you ever looked around your local bar and thought, âI could run a place like thisâ? For many, itâs easy to get caught up in the excitement ofÂ potentially opening a bar, but for a select few, this is more than just a fleeting idea. These aspiring entrepreneurs want to make this dream a reality.
Opening your own bar or sports pub seems like a fun and exciting experience. After all, who doesnât love gathering with friends and family to watch the big game with a cold drink in hand and appetizing snacks on the table? Behind-the-scenes, though, itâs a little different. While it may seem exciting to become a small business owner and call the shots, thereâs also a lot of planning and work involved in starting a profitable business.
If opening a little corner pub sounds like a dream come true but you donât know quite where to begin, youâre in the right place. In this article, weâll share our top tips for starting the exhilarating and lucrative path to owning your own bar. Weâll go over what you need to legally open a bar, expenses to start and maintain your business, and the importance of a business plan. Weâll also help you decode one of the biggest pieces of the small business puzzle: getting financing for your new business.
If youâre ready to stop dreaming and start doing, keep reading!
Begin With Branding
One of the first things you need to do before you take off running is to visualize a name, a theme, and an overarching concept for your bar. Do you picture yourself running a neighborhood pub where all of the locals gather? Or maybe youâd rather open a thriving nightclub where young club hoppers from around your city come to dance the night away?
Evaluate your different options, considering the type of patrons youâd like to attract as well as where you plan to open your bar. For example, if you want a younger crowd, a nightclub in a trendy part of town makes sense. If you want to attract an older, more sophisticated crowd, consider opening a wine bar, martini bar, or cigar bar in a thriving downtown area. You could also target sports fans by opening a sports bar or draw in foodies with a new gastropub.
Speaking of your barâs name, it goes without saying that youâll need one. Because itâs your bar, youâre free to name it anything you want. However, you want to make sure that you choose a name that reflects your concept. âJohnâs Neighborhood Barâ may incorporate your name, but it doesnât stand out. When brainstorming ideas, think about the audience you want to bring in and pick a moniker thatâs attention-grabbing — a name that lets customers know what to expect when walking through the doors of your bar.
Find A Location
One of the most important first steps in opening your own bar is choosing a location. There are a few options you have at this stage of the game:
Purchase an existing bar
Start from scratch
Buy a franchise
There are advantages and disadvantages for each option. If you purchase an existing bar, you inherit the existing clientele and may see immediate income. However, you could pay a steep premium if the bar is extremely successful at the time of sale. You may also rack up high costs if the bar doesnât mesh with your vision and you have to pay for renovations.
If you start from scratch, youâll be able to see your vision through from start to finish. However, it may take many months (or even a year or longer) to open your doors, and the costs can really rack up if you have to completely renovate a space or build a new bar from the ground up. With this option, careful planning, budgeting, and at least some knowledge of the bar and restaurant industry are needed for the highest chance of success.
Finally, you could purchase a franchise. This option could shield you from some of the mistakes you’d almost certainly encounter if you attempted to go it alone. However, you wonât be able to fully showcase your creativity with a franchise.
Finding a location takes planning and a dedicated eye on financials. Sure, putting your bar in a trendy and popular neighborhood could help your business become your cityâs next hotspot, but real estate costs may be prohibitively high. Before you put down money on a location, make sure to do your market research and understand the costs.
Create A Business Plan
Every successful business starts with a solid business plan, and a bar is no exception. Not only will your business plan act as a blueprint for starting, operating, and growing your business, but itâs also a necessity if you plan to apply for business loans from a bank or other lender.
No two business plans are exactly alike, but there are some standard sections you should have in yours. This includes:
Executive Summary: Basic information about your business and why it will be a success
Company Details: Specific details about your business
Organizational Chart: Outline of your company structure
Marketing Strategy:Â How will you market your business?
Financial Projections: Show the financial outlook of your business
Your business plan should showcase the goals of your company and serve as a map for you to follow, keeping your business on the right path. Lenders will want to see a business plan that demonstrates thought, intelligence, research, and reasonable plans for successÂ in the future.
Register Your Business
Before you open your bar and begin serving customers, you have to register your business. First things first: register the business’s name with your state. This can be completed via the county clerk’s office in the state where youâll operate.
Next, youâll need to determine your formal legal structure. Do you plan to be a limited liability company or a corporation? Your business structure will determine how much you pay in taxes, what paperwork needs to be filed with the government, and your personal liability. If youâre unsure of which structure is right for your new business, consult with an attorney, accountant, or business counselor.
Your business will also need to be registered with the state revenue office and the Internal Revenue Service. Because your business will have employees, youâll be required to apply for an Employer Identification Number. Youâll also need a sales tax permit.
Finally, youâll be required to obtain the proper licenses and permits to legally operate your business. Because your bar will serve alcohol, a liquor license is required. If your bar serves food, youâll need a license from the health department. You can find out more about the requirements in your area by contacting your state Department of Commerce.
Obtain A Liquor License
In the previous section, we touched on acquiring the right permits and licenses. One of the most important things you need to open a bar — if not the most important thing — is a liquor license. This license makes it legal for you to sell alcohol in your business. This should be a top priority, as getting approval from your stateâs Alcohol Beverage Control agency typically takes at least one month. In some cases, it may take up to six months to get approved.
The steps required to obtain your liquor license vary by state. In all states, though, you will be required to fill out an application. You may be required to submit additional documentation with your application, such as a certificate of incorporation, your proposed menu, and the certificate of title for your bar. You may also be required to pay a processing fee.
Once your application is reviewed and approved, youâll have to pay for your license. Fees vary by state and range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Your license will last for at least one year, and you must pay a fee when itâs time to renew.
Even though getting your liquor license is a hassle and can get very expensive depending on your state, this is a critical step that canât be overlooked. To learn more about the process, fees, and type of license required for your business, contact your state ABC agency.
Business licenses. A construction loan or lease. Renovations. You havenât even stocked your bar, and the expenses are already piling up. Unless youâre already a successful entrepreneur with plenty of money in the bank, these expenses may seem completely overwhelming.
Very few small business owners have the resources to launch a business on their own. Instead, they turn to lenders for money to fund startup costs. Even after you launch your business, there will always be a need for more capital, whether an emergency has popped up, you need to expand, or a slow period has affected your day-to-day operations.
Even if your credit history is blemished, youâre a startup with no business history, or you face other challenges, thereâs funding out there if you know where to look. Start with these options.
Many new business owners have at least a little bit of money put away in their savings accounts. If youâve been socking away pennies for a rainy day, now may be the opportunity to put these savings to use. By using your own money, you wonât be indebted to a lender (or at least not as much). You wonât have to worry about making scheduled payments, and there wonât be interest or fees to worry about. On the downside, if your business is unsuccessful, you lose part — or all — of your savings.
Loans From Friends & Family
If you have a friend or family member with extra money to invest, pitch them your business idea to see if theyâre interested. But be careful! Even though you have a more personal relationship with this person, donât just have a casual conversation asking to borrow funds. Instead, give them your business plan and present your pitch just as you would with a bank or other lender. Show them why you think your business will be a success, and give them a good reason to invest in you.
If you come to a loan agreement, get everything in writing, including the total borrowing amount, rates, and terms of the loan. Put your personal relationship aside and make sure you follow all terms of the loans just as a responsible borrower should.
Personal Loans For Business
Getting a startup loan from a bank or other lender can be tough. Sure, there are options, such as Small Business Administration loans, but these loans can be very difficult to receive — especially if you have a short time in business or low annual revenue. However, if you have a solid personal credit profile, more low-cost loan options are available to you.
Instead of going directly for a business loan, try applying for a personal loan for business. With a business loan, lenders consider your time in business, personal and business credit histories, and annual revenues. But with a personal loan, your personal credit score and income are used to determine if you qualify.
By going this route, you may be able to avoid many of the high fees and interest rates of alternative business loans. Depending on your credit history and the lender you select, your cost of borrowing could be much lower with a long-term, low-interest personal loan.
Recommended Option: Upstart
Time in business: N/A
Personal credit score: Minimum 620
Business revenue: N/A
Borrower requirements (click to expand)
You may qualify to receive a personal loan of between $1,000 and $50,000 through Upstart. These loans have competitive interest rates starting at 7.74% and going up to 35.99% based on your creditworthiness. Repayment terms of 36 or 60 months are available. The application process is quick, easy, and completely online.
To qualify for an Upstart personal loan, you must meet a few basic requirements, including having a valid email address, verifiable personal information, a source of income, and a U.S. checking account. You also have to meet the lenderâs credit requirements, which include:
A credit score of 620 or above OR 580 or above for California residents
A solid debt-to-income ratio
No bankruptcies or public records
No delinquent accounts or accounts in collections
6 or fewer inquiries on your credit report over the last 6 months
Lines Of Credit
A more traditional financing option is a flexible line of credit. The one drawback with a line of credit is that business performance is typically a qualifying factor. If you havenât made any sales, you wonât qualify, so this isnât a good financial option if youâre not in business yet.
As you build your business, though, a line of credit can be very useful. It can be used to purchase supplies, inventory, or cover that emergency that pops up when you least expect it. You can also use your line of credit to cover payroll or daily operational expenses.
When you receive a line of credit, a lender provides you with a credit limit. You can make as many draws as you need against the line of credit up to and including the credit limit. Once you initiate a draw, the lender will transfer the money directly to your bank account, giving you access to the money you need. Over time, youâll make payments that are applied to the principal (the amount youâve borrowed) and any fees and/or interest charged by the lender.
A line of credit is a revolving account, so as you repay the lender, money becomes available to draw again.
Recommended Option: Fundbox
No time in business requirements, but must have used a compatible accounting or invoicing software for at least 2 months, or a compatible business bank account for at least 3 months.
Business revenue: $50,000 per year
No specific personal credit score requirement
Borrower requirements (click to expand)
You may qualify to receive a line of credit of up to $100,000 through Fundbox. Fundbox lines of credit have no restrictions and can be used to cover any business expense. Once approved, youâll be eligible to make draws immediately and receive funds as quickly as the next business day.
The Fundbox application process takes just minutes, and itâs easy to qualify. The lender focuses on the performance of your business — not your business or personal credit history — so even borrowers with credit challenges can qualify. You do, however, have to meet the following requirements:
Own a U.S.-based business
Have a business checking account
At least 3 months of transactions in your business bank account or at least 2 months of activity in a supported accounting software
At least $50,000 in annual revenue
Once you make a draw on your line of credit, automatic drafts are made weekly from your linked business checking account. If you do not use your funds, you do not pay. Repayment terms are 12 or 24 weeks and fees start at 4.66% of the total borrowing amount.
Business Credit Cards
Business credit cards work just like the personal credit cards in your wallet, only theyâre used to pay business expenses. Business credit cards are great for emergency expenses or any time your cash flow is a little short. You can also make recurring payments, such as your utility bills, using a business credit card. This is especially beneficial if you have a rewards card that gives you cash back or other rewards simply for making qualified purchases.
When you apply for a credit card, your lender will set a credit limit if youâre approved. You may spend up to and including this credit limit with one or multiple transactions anywhere credit cards are accepted. Each month, youâll make a payment that is applied to the principal, interest, and fees charged by the lender. As you pay down your balance, funds will become available to use again. If you donât have a balance, you wonât pay any interest, although you may have to pay annual fees depending on the card you select.
Recommended Option: Chase Ink Business Unlimited
Chase Ink Business Unlimited
15.49% – 21.49%, Variable
Required credit: Good, excellent
Bonus offer: $500 cash back if you spend at least $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
Purchase intro APR: 0% for the first 12 months
Balance transfer intro APR: 0% for the first 12 months
Foreign transaction fee: 3%
Unlimited 1.5% cash back rewards on all purchases
Notable perks & benefits:
Employee cards at no additional cost
Travel and purchase coverage
More card details (click to expand)
If you have an excellent credit score of at least 740, you may qualify for the Chase Ink Business Unlimited credit card. This is a rewards card that provides you with unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases made for your business. As a new cardholder, you will also be eligible to receive a $500 cash back bonus if you spend $3,000 within 3 months of opening your account.
The Chase Ink Business Unlimited card comes with a 0% introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months. After the introductory period, the card has a variable APR of 15.49% to 21.49%. This card comes with no annual fee. You can also receive additional cards for employees at no extra cost.
Rollover For Business Startups (ROBS)
Do you have a retirement account? If so, you can legally leverage these funds to pay your startup costs without facing tax or early withdrawal penalties. With a Rollover for Business Startups (ROBS) plan, you can put your retirement account to work for your new business.
It’s possible to access your retirement account funds with no penalties in just a few easy steps. First, create a new C-corporation. Next, create a qualified retirement plan for the corporation. Then, the funds from your qualified retirement account are rolled over into the new retirement plan. Finally, the funds that were rolled over can be used to purchase stock in the corporation, giving you access to the capital you need to start or grow your business.
Throughout the process, you do have to remain compliant and follow legal guidelines. For most new business owners, the process can get confusing, which is why ROBS providers are available to help. A ROBS provider will set up your ROBS plan to ensure everything is by the book. To get started, youâll need to pay a setup fee, then pay a monthly maintenance fee for maintaining your account.
The great thing about ROBS plans is that you are using your own money, so you wonât have to pay interest on a loan. You will, however, have to pay a monthly fee to maintain your account. You also risk losing your retirement funds if your business is unsuccessful.
Recommended Option: Benetrends
Varies based on the type of financing you seek.
Must have a personal credit score of 660 or above.
Borrower requirements (click to expand)
Benetrends is a pioneer of ROBS, launching its Rainmaker Plan in the 1980s. This visionary-plan is the longest-running ROBS plan, and Benetrends offers many benefits that outshine its competitors.
With just four easy steps, Benetrends can get the capital you need from your qualified retirement plan. With the Rainmaker Plan, you can have your funding is as little as 10 days.
To qualify, you must have an eligible retirement plan with at least $50,000. Most retirement plans are eligible, with the exception of Roth IRAs, 457 plans for non-governmental agencies, and distribution of death benefits from an IRA other than to the spouse. There are no time in business, annual revenue, or personal credit score requirements.
To get started with Benetrends, youâll be required to pay a setup fee of $4,995. After paying this fee, your C-corporation and ROBS plan will be set up. After your plan is set up, youâll be required to pay a monthly maintenance fee of $130. This fee covers ongoing support and services including legal support, audit protection, and compliance.
Paying your vendors will be an ongoing expense for your business. You have multiple options available to pay your vendors. You can pay out-of-pocket, you can use a credit card or line of credit, or you can take advantage of purchase financing.
With this type of financing, your vendors are paid immediately, while you get more time to pay. A lender pays your vendors up front, then you repay the lender over a set period of time. The lender will add fees and/or interest to your loan balance for paying your expenses upfront.
By using purchase financing, youâre able to pay your vendors immediately to receive the supplies, inventory, or services you need for your bar. Then, you can spread out your payments over time to make these purchases more affordable for your business.
Recommended Option: Behalf
No specific time in business, revenue, or credit score requirements.
Borrower requirements (click to expand)
Behalf offers purchase financing of up to $50,000 for qualified borrowers. Repayment terms of up to 180 days are available. Behalf charges fees of 1% to 3% of the borrowed amount per month for using this service. There are no additional fees. You can repay on a weekly or monthly schedule.
Behalfâs financing can be used to pay merchants for inventory or services. However, there are some restrictions. You canât pay bills, cover payroll, or pay other existing debt through Behalf.
Behalf analyzes the performance of your business when making its approval decisions. There are no time in business or business revenue requirements. Behalf does not have a minimum personal credit score for approval, although your credit history will be considered during the application process.
Create Your Menu
Before you open your bar, you need to know what food and drinks you plan to serve and what equipment is needed to properly prepare each menu item.
When planning your menu, think about your theme and the type of customers you plan to attract while also keeping your budget in mind.
Decide what type of drinks youâll serve. Most bars serve a variety of wines, beers, liquors, and mixed drinks, but what you serve may be different based on the theme of your bar. For example, in a sports bar, your drink menu may feature a wide selection of beers. If you open a nightclub, you want to have a variety of liquors and mixers on hand to create many different types of drinks. If you have a cigar bar, wines and craft beers may make up the bulk of your menu. Again, the type of bar you want, the theme, and your target audience can help you determine what you serve.
If your bar will serve food, think about the types of food youâll serve. In a neighborhood bar, appetizers like fried cheese sticks or nachos may be enough to keep your customers happy. If you have a gastropub, meals made with high-quality ingredients should make up your menu. Remember, creating the perfect menu takes careful planning, so take the time to brainstorm your ideas.
Itâs also wise to start off small and add new items as your business grows. If you have a huge menu that features every type of food and beverage you could think of, your bar will require more equipment. More equipment equals more expenses. Working with a smaller menu can also ensure that your bartenders and kitchen staff arenât overwhelmed and can focus on creating high-quality food and drinks. As you draw in customers to your bar, you can tweak your menu based on what customers are ordering, what gets rave reviews, and what falls flat.
Once youâve determined what your bar will be serving, youâll need to talk with suppliers to get estimates of costs. As you approach opening day, youâll place your order with your selected suppliers.
Still stuck on your menu? Check out our tips for creating a great menu.
Purchase Your Equipment
Once youâve secured a location and have moved further into the process of building your bar, itâs time to think about the equipment and fixtures that you need. What your bar needs depends on the theme youâve selected and what youâll be serving, but some items you may consider include:
Bar & barstools
Tables & chairs
Industrial ovens & other kitchen equipment
Coolers, refrigerators & ice bins
Blenders & other bar equipment
Microphones & other audio equipment
After youâve leased, purchased, or built your building, itâs important to create a detailed layout of your business. You want to ensure that you have enough room for everything required to run your bar, while also leaving enough space for seating, a dance floor, and other features that will be important to your customers. As you grow your business and need to add or update equipment, consider equipment financing to make these expenses more manageable.
$2K – $5M
As low as 2%
$5K – $500K
24 – 72 months
Starts at 5%
Up to $250K
1 – 72 months
Starts at 5.49%
Select Your POS System
Gone are the days when most businesses just needed a cash register or two for their customers. With the rising use of credit cards, debit cards, and mobile payments, businesses — especially bars — need a more advanced system for accepting payments.
A point of sale (POS) system is one of the most important pieces of equipment youâll need for your new bar. A POS system combines software and hardware to create a centralized point for business operations. Through this system, youâll be able to take orders and accept payments, but thatâs not all.
Some of the most advanced POS systems come with features beneficial to bars. This includes built-in tipping systems, inventory management that allows you to track your stock levels, and an open ticket system for creating bar tabs.
Your POS system plays an important role in your business, so itâs important that you know what to look for before making your purchase. Check out our top picks for POS systems for bars and nightclubs.
Breadcrumb POS by Upserve
Get a quote
Cloud-based or Locally Installed
Compatible credit card processors
Cayan or Mercury in US; iZettle in Europe
Shopkeep Payments & some others;Â contact your processor to see if they are supported
TouchBistro Payments, Square, PayPal, Moneris, Cayan, Chase Paymentech & more
Upserve Payments only
Small to medium
Small to medium
Small to large
Small to medium
Small to large
To make sure your bar is a success, you need to have the right employees working for you. If you havenât done so already, you need to apply for an Employer Identification Number for tax purposes. Next, you need to determine how many employees you need and what their roles will be in your business.
Youâll need at least one bartender that prepares and serves drinks in your bar. You will need to add additional bartenders based on the number of bar areas you have in your business, as well as the number of customers you have to serve.
If your bar will serve any type of food, you will also need a kitchen staff. This includes at least one cook, but you may also need prep cooks, dishwashers, and other staff as your business grows.
Youâll also need servers to distribute food or pass out drinks to customers not seated at the bar. The number of servers you have is based on the size of your bar and how busy it gets.
While your servers may be able to handle cleaning tables at first, as your business grows, you may want to add a busser or two, who are responsible for cleaning off tables for new customers.
You may also require additional staff. For example, you may hire a doorman that checks IDs before customers enter the door. A security guard may also be a staff member you hire to handle tempers that flare from customers whoâve had one too many.
You also need at least one manager to oversee the staff. A managerâs role may include hiring employees, firing employees, training, making schedules, and making sure that all staff members are doing their jobs properly.
Before you start seeking job applicants, make sure to create an in-house organizational chart to know exactly who you need to hire. You also need to do your research to figure out what salaries you will offer, as well as any benefits.
Unsure of where to hire new employees? You have a few options. First, post a job ad on online job boards or classified ads to find potential employees. This is an inexpensive (or even free) way to find candidates.
You can also ask for referrals. If you know someone in the industry, ask if they have any new hires to recommend. Donât know anyone in the industry? Ask other colleagues, family, and friends for recommendations.
Bolster Your Web Presence
After completing all of these steps, youâll be that much closer to opening your bar. However, you want to make sure to spread the word about your business, and thereâs no better way to do that than with the internet.
One of the easiest ways to get the word out about your business is through social media. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are just a few of the ways you can reach your target audience, andÂ Yelp For Business is a must. Best of all, these accounts are free to use. As you grow, you may consider moving past the free advertising you get through your posts and pictures and invest in advertising on these social platforms.
You also need a good website. Keep your barâs theme in mind when you design your site. Make sure that your website reflects the image you want to project. There are many small business website builders you can look into if you want to create your website yourself. These make it easy for you to create a professional website with no prior web design experience required.
Hosted or Licensed
Templates & Themes
Compatible Credit Card Processors
$14 – $179/month
Go to Site
Free – $29.90/month
Go to Site
Free – $25/month
Go to Site
Go to Site
Make sure that you include your address and phone number on your website. Information about your bar including dress code and hours of operation are also extremely useful for customers. You can also include your menu, photos of your establishment and patrons, and news and updates on your website.
Also, remember that word-of-mouth is one of the best forms of advertising for a bar. If your customers love your drinks, food, service, and atmosphere, theyâll tell others. If they dislike your bar, theyâll also tell others â¦ who will make sure to avoid your establishment. Whether your bar is brand new on the block or youâve been in business for some time, keep customer satisfaction high so that customers online and off will have nothing but positive reviews for your business.
As you can see, creating a bar where everyone gathers to have a great time takes a lot of hard work. But just as Theodore Roosevelt said, âNothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.â Running your own bar means planning, budgeting, and always being ready for growth. While your bar wonât make you an overnight millionaire, you can become a successful entrepreneur with this potentially-lucrative venture if you put in the work.
The post Want To Open Your Own Bar? Top Tips To Get You Started appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
It can be a challenge to keep up with all the different payment services PayPal offers because there are so dang many, and new ones seem to come out all the time. PayPal services also frequently change names as they are rebranded or acquired from other companies.
One PayPal service you might be curious about, as it has generated some buzz lately, is PayPal Credit, formerly Bill Me Later. Read on to learn about this PayPal payment option.
What Is PayPal Credit?
PayPal Credit is a line of credit issued by Synchrony Bank. This virtual line of credit functions similarly to a credit card, letting you pay for online purchases in installments, rather than upfront in-full.Â Approved PayPal users can use PayPal Credit as a payment option whenever they check out using PayPal, either from a website or at a brick-and-mortar store that accepts PayPal.
Note that PayPal Credit is not the same thing as a PayPal debit or credit card.
How PayPal Credit Works
PayPal Credit is easy to apply for and start using. But it’s important that you understand a little bit about how PayPal Credit works before you start using this service.
Applying For PayPal Credit
Any PayPal user can apply for PayPal Credit. If you don’t have a PayPal account already, you will be prompted to create one when applying for PayPal Credit. The application is quick and simple: you only have to supply your date of birth, your income after taxes, and the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. Be warned thatÂ PayPal will do a hard credit pull, which might ding your credit score a few points. Typically within seconds, you’ll have your approval answer.
PayPal doesn’t have any clearly stated applicant criteria, but applicants with poor credit or limited credit history may be declined.
Note that PayPal Credit is the new name for Bill Me Later, which has been around for more than 10 years. If you already had a Bill Me Later account, you now have a PayPal Credit account.
Using PayPal Credit
Once you have your PayPal Credit account set up, you can use PayPal Credit in conjunction with your PayPal account anywhere PayPal is accepted. You simply need to set up PayPal Credit as your default “preferred” payment option for PayPal, or select PayPal Credit as your payment option when checking out. Some merchants may also prompt you to pay using PayPal Credit instead of your regular PayPal preferred payment option (which is usually linked to a credit or debit card, or your bank account).
You can manage your PayPal Credit settings using a web browser or with the PayPal app. You can also make payments on your balance and see your current credit limit — just like you would for any credit card app you might already use.
As part of its “Cash Advance” feature, it’s possible to use PayPal Credit to send money to someone online using the Send Money tab, the same way you can with any other PayPal Wallet option.Â You cannot use this feature to send a cash advance to yourself. However, you can receive a cash advance directly from PayPal Credit if you are a furloughed federal government worker: in January 2019, PayPalÂ announced a program whereby PayPal will extend a one-time 0%-interest cash advance of up to $500 to furloughed federal workers via PayPal Credit.
PayPal Credit Terms & Conditions
PayPal Credit requires monthly payments on your balance. You can make the minimum payment at the end of the month, make payments in any other amount whenever you like, or pay your balance in full at any time, similar to a credit card. For new accounts, PayPal Credit has a variable APR of 25.99% on standard purchases and cash advances (at the time of publishing). Being variable, the APR will fluctuate with the Prime interest rate.
PayPal Credit is currently promoting a 6-months special financing offer, in which you won’t have to pay any interest on purchases of $99 or higher for 6 months. You will be charged interest if you don’t pay the balance in full within 6 months.
To send money (Cash Advance) with PayPal Credit, PayPal will charge a flat fee of 2.9% + $.30 US dollars per transaction. This is the same fee you pay when you use a debit or credit card to send money through PayPal.
To qualify for the 0%-interest cash advance for federal government workers, you’ll need to be a U.S. federal government employee with a PayPal Credit account in good standing. This promotion will end once the government reopens and furloughed workers receive their first paycheck, or the $25 million PayPal has set aside for the program has been exhausted.
PayPal Credit Pros & Cons
Pros of PayPal Credit
Fast & Convenient:Â You can use PayPal Credit to make a purchase as soon as you’re approved (usually within seconds). In comparison, you might have to wait a week or longer for a credit card you’ve applied for to come in the mail.
Use Anywhere PayPal Is Accepted:Â This includes thousands of websites and a growing number of brick-and-mortar stores as well.
PayPal Purchase Protection:Â If your online purchase doesn’t match the description or doesn’t arrive, PayPal will refund the full purchase price plus original shipping costs.
Cons of PayPal Credit
Low Credit Limit:Â Unlike a traditional line of credit, PayPal Credit limits are comparable to or even lower than most credit card limits, with most users’ limits ranging from just $250 to a few thousand dollars.
Hard Credit Inquiry:Â The hard credit pull during the application process will likely ding your score several points.
Won’t Help You Build Credit:Â Unlike a credit card company, PayPal Credit does not report your payment activity (positive or negative) to credit agencies.
High APR:Â You can probably get a better APR with a credit card, especially if you have good credit.
Risk Of Overspending:Â You may be tempted to spend more with PayPal Credit than you would with regular PayPal.*
*Note that this pro/con list is from a PayPal Credit user’s point of view. From a merchant’s point of view, there are no major downsides to PayPal Credit, other than the downsides of using PayPal in general (namely, the high transaction fees). However, a potential upside of advertising promotional financing with PayPal Credit as a merchant that already offers PayPal as a checkout option is that PayPal users typically spend more and make larger purchases with PayPal Credit.
Can Businesses Use PayPal Credit?
Yes, your customers can pay using PayPal Credit as long as your business accepts PayPal payments. But when it comes to using PayPal Credit for business purchases, there are better options available.
Businesses that accept PayPal at checkout can offer customers the option to pay with PayPal Credit, either online or in-store.Â If you accept PayPal as a payment form, PayPal Credit is already available to customers who check out with PayPal at no additional cost to your business.
When a customer makes a purchase using PayPal Credit, PayPal deposits the full amount of the purchase into your account just as with any other PayPal transaction, so there is no added risk to you as a PayPal merchant; accepting a PayPal Credit payment is the same as accepting any other PayPal payment. However, if you make PayPal sales online, you can promote PayPal Credit financing options on your website, which might be of added benefit to businesses that sell large-ticket items online.
How Do You Get Paid With PayPal Credit?
There are multiple ways you can allow customers to pay with PayPal Credit:
PayPal Credit At POS: Some, but not all, point of sale systems allow you to accept in-person PayPal payments. Some examples of PayPal-friendly point of sales include Shopkeep, Vend, and of course PayPal’s own PayPal Here.
PayPal Credit On Your Website: If you allow customers to check out with PayPal on your website, PayPal will give you promotional banners that let you advertise financing options to your customers. You can also include a PayPal Credit button to prompt customers who don’t have PPC set up as their preferred PayPal payment method to pay using PayPal Credit.
PayPal Credit With Mobile Payments: If you accept Google Pay or Apple Pay at your point of sale, and the customer has PayPal with PayPal Credit set up as their default payment method, customers might pay using PayPal Credit using their smartphone.
PayPal Credit With PayPal Invoice: When you send a customer a PayPal Invoice, your customer may use PayPal Credit to pay that invoice.
Of course, only customers who have been approved by PayPal Credit may pay with PayPal Credit, and then only up to the amount of their credit limit. Customers who have set up PayPal Credit as their preferred PayPal payment option will automatically pay for all their PayPal purchases using Credit; customers can also choose PayPal Credit in their PayPal Wallet for individual transactions when presented with this option at checkout.
How Can You Use PayPal Credit For Business Purchases?
Businesses might also potentially use PayPal Credit to make business purchases from merchants or vendors that accept PayPal. However, because it is geared toward consumers, credit limits on this line of credit are on the low side and APRs are on the high side. Unless you have a very small enterprise, you are better off getting a traditional line of credit or business credit card to make business purchases.
As another alternative to making business purchases with PayPal Credit, PayPal also offers small business loans ranging from $5,000 to $500,000 with LoanBuilder: A PayPal Service.
Time in business: 9 months
Business revenue: $42,000 per year
Personal credit score: 550
Borrower requirements (click to expand)
PayPal Credit can be a convenient option to have in your virtual wallet if you want to the ability to make purchases with PayPal even when you don’t yet have the funds to do so—for example, eBay businesses frequently make purchases using PayPal. Or, you might use PayPal Credit to finance a large one-time purchase such as a refrigerator.
You can also use PayPal Credit to send someone money, even if you don’t have that money in your account. If you own a business and already accept PayPal, promoting PayPal Credit as an online checkout option could result in higher purchases.
However, using PayPal Credit not an effective way to build credit, as PayPal doesn’t report your payments to credit agencies. Plus, you will be charged heavy fees if you don’t pay off your balance at the end of each month (or the end of the 6-month promotional financing period). If you are looking for a larger line of credit to use for your business, you might want to look at our top-ratedÂ business line of credit providers. Or if you’re looking for a more flexible credit option with a lower APR, check out this comparison of our favorite credit cards.
The post What Is PayPal Credit & How Does It Work? appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
Venmo has earned its status at the top mobile wallet and P2P payments app, ranking along with PayPal and Square Cash as easy, free, and trusted ways to move money around and pay back friends or family.
Venmo launched in 2009 and was eventually acquired by Braintree and then PayPal. Despite being owned by PayPal, Venmo is hardly a PayPal clone. With an estimated 10 million users, Venmo combines a social element with its payments platform, publishing a record of the transaction (though not the amount) to its social feed, along with a note or comment (or sometimes just an emoji). If you want a more detailed look at Venmo, check out our Venmo review for more information!
This social network aspect is one of the ways Venmo sets itself apart from its competitors. The company has also more recently begun allowing merchants to accept payments through Venmo — though with some rather stringent requirements. If you’re wondering whether Venmo could be right for your business, you’re in the right place — we’ll talk about what the requirements are to implement Venmo as a payment option at checkout, and what kinds of businesses Venmo is best suited to.
How Do You Accept Venmo For Businesses?
Venmo is both painfully clear and annoying vague about what kinds of businesses are eligible for accepting Venmo payments. For example, there isn’t a list of prohibited businesses (like you’d find with PayPal, Braintree, and Square). However, Venmo also says that “Venmo can be used to purchase items directly from participating approved apps and online stores.”
Be aware that you can’t natively build Venmo acceptance into your website or app. Instead, you need to go through either Braintree or PayPal for payment processing to add this option.Â Braintree says that the following use cases are not permitted:
Selling goods or services in person.
Receiving payment for goods or services through the Venmo app.
Facilitating peer-to-peer transactions between two Venmo users.
What does that all mean? Essentially it means you can’t use Venmo directly to accept payments. If you, for example, sell Pampered Chef, Scentsy, LulaRoe, or any other kind of product, your clients can’t just send you a payment via Venmo. If you sell something on Facebook, you can’t meet up with someone and hand them the item in exchange for a Venmo transaction. If you want to accept Venmo for payments, you need to follow the appropriate steps and build the payment option into your website or mobile app.
It also means that you can’t set up a service that says “You send us the money (plus a possible convenience fee) and we’ll send it to someone else for you.” It should be pretty obvious that is a no-no, but generally, those kinds of things need to be clearly stated for legal purposes.
The last requirement? You must be based in the US, which a major difference between Venmo and its global parent company, PayPal. Venmo currently isn’t available to users outside the US at all.
Now that we’ve got the basics covered, let’s talk about how to you can actually implement Venmo payments.
Option 1: Accept Venmo Through Braintree
Braintree Payment Solutions (read our review) is a merchant services provider with a special focus on online and mobile payments. The company, as I mentioned early, is owned by PayPal, and its offerings work pretty seamlessly with PayPal’s, but it is a fairly separate entity. For example, you do get a traditional merchant account. (PayPal is a third-party payment processor, which leads to a greater degree of account stability than merchant accounts.) Braintree is global friendly — even if that’s irrelevant in the case of Venmo payments — and it supports a huge array of payment types, both in apps and on the web. As a result, it will take a developer to implement Braintree payments and get the most out of the Braintree platform.
Braintree specifically says that in order to use Venmo, you must be using one of the following SDKs:
Finally, Braintree’s standard pricing applies for Venmo transactions, so most merchants will pay 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction unless they’ve already negotiated special pricing. Venmo transactions are settled according to the same terms as Discover card transactions, but you can identify them in your dashboard by looking for the Venmo logo in the payment type.
Option 2: Accept Venmo Through PayPal Checkout
If Braintree isn’t quite what you’re interested in, you can also implement Venmo Payments using PayPal Checkout (formerly known as Express Checkout). Checkout is PayPal’s recommended option if you are adding payments to an ecommerce shopping cart or offering PayPal as a supplemental option to another credit card processor. Keep in mind that PayPal (read our review) is a third-party payment processor and, as such, comes with an inherent risk of account instability — the potential for holds on funds or even an account freeze if PayPal’s system flags any suspicious behavior.
Also, this option still requires a developer and some code work. PayPal has upgraded its Checkout offering with “Smart” customizable payment buttons and contextual tools that will display multiple checkout options — PayPal, PayPal Credit, or Venmo — based on what it knows about a consumer. Currently, Venmo is only available on mobile devices, though that may change in the future. It’s also worth noting that PayPal Checkout doesn’t allow you to present Venmo as a stand-alone payment option. If you’d like this feature, you’ll need to go with Braintree instead.
With Venmo transactions, you’ll pay your standard PayPal rates, which will be 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for most merchants. (Keep in mind that PayPal does have a micropayments option for merchants whose average transaction sizes are under $10.) PayPal treats them just like all other transactions; currently, they are not identifiable as Venmo transactions. Again, PayPal may change this feature down the line.
Finally, it’s important to note that because Venmo is owned by PayPal, PayPal’s Seller Protection policy applies to Venmo transactions. For buyers, Venmo has its own protection policy, which is the same as PayPal’s in many ways, though Venmo admits there are some differences. Venmo lays out its terms and conditions for merchants in the user agreement if you’d like to take a closer look.
Should You Add Venmo To Your Payments Set Up?
Venmo is a powerful tool. An estimated 10 million users make for a significant userbase that many merchants may want to tap into. But all the same, accepting Venmo for your business only makes sense in certain contexts. You can’t just use the Venmo app to accept payments directly — you can’t process any sort of in-person transaction, as a matter of fact. If you do sell online, adding Venmo only makes sense if you have a very strong mobile user base. For one, PayPal will only display Venmo as a checkout option for mobile devices. Second, there’s no sense in adding Venmo if your customers don’t even know what a mobile wallet is.
However, if you do have a mobile app and your audience is young, tech-savvy and social, adding Venmo as an option makes a lot of sense. It’s available on both Android and iOS, and if you go through Braintree you can present Venmo as a standalone checkout option rather than as a payment option that is linked with PayPal.
It’s pretty likely that we’ll see Venmo sinking more resources into its business platform in the coming year, so we could very easily see some changes to Venmo’s requirements for business. If you’re still on the fence about Venmo, there’s no rush! Familiarize yourself with the product and wait to see what else Venmo has in store before you make a decision.
Have questions or comments? We always love to hear from our reader base, so check out our comment guidelines and leave us your thoughts!
The post Venmo For Business: Is It Worth It? appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
The Chase Pay app is a digital wallet developed by Chase Bank. Instead of having to take out your wallet, find your credit card, swipe, and wait, a digital wallet like Chase Pay works by scanning a QR code on a smartphone or with a tap using near-field communication (NFC) technology at a credit card terminal.
Through this post, we are going to explore why accepting digital wallet payments can be a good move for business owners and why the digital wallet offered by Chase Pay is a great option for customers and merchants alike.
The Evolving World Of Digital Wallets
It is no secret that the world of payment processing is evolving quickly. Non-cash payments are becoming commonplace, but that doesnât mean that weâre diving into a cashless system quite yet. The reality is that half of payments made are still paper-based or manual, according to JPMorgan Chase. Despite their continued use, these manual types of processing transactions represent a more expensive way to do business, cost more working capital from businesses, and take more time to settle the payment between the seller and buyer.
In other words, digital wallets can be a cost-saving option. However, with any new technology, it takes time for users to adapt. Businesses must figure out what will work best for them and consumers are often set in their ways, so all of this momentum to digital wallets will take a few years to build. Currently, most people are exploring their options, but the digital wallet trend is on the rise. Â
Chase Pay provides new opportunities to settle things faster electronically (and less expensively) and it can also make life easier for the people who use it, offering faster ordering and pick-up times, a quicker check-out process, and built-in reward and discount programs.
Read on to find out more about Chase Pay and how it can help you improve engagement and offer a better incentive for customers.
Chase Pay For Customers
Chase Pay offers digital wallet and online payment options. Through the Chase Pay app, customers can pay with only their phone by tapping (if linked to Samsung Pay) or scanning a QR code.
You can combine all your Chase-eligible cards, wallets, loyalty programs, and rewards so you can apply what you need quickly at checkout. No more fumbling for the loyalty card on your keychain while also digging your card out of your wallet. Not only that, Chase often runs promotional deals to encourage first-time users to shop in more places.
To sweeten the deal even more in this competitive digital wallet space, Chase Pay also recently introduced Chase Offers. Once you are in your app, you will see any offers available to you and can click on an offer to activate it. The offer appears as a statement credit after 7-14 business days. You donât need to register, use any vouchers, or apply any codes. Once you activate an offer you like, it is applied whenever you make a purchase with Chase Pay.
These offers are not the same as (and donât replace) your rewards. You continue to earn any rewards on your purchases through Ultimate Rewards points, your miles, or any other reward program youâre enrolled in.
Where To Shop With Chase Pay
The selection of shops, big-box stores, and restaurants that accept Chase Pay is somewhat limited at this point. However, there is still a decent list of merchants that accept Chase Pay, including big names like Starbucks, Shell gas stations, and Walmart. Within the app, you can also search for places near you that accept Chase Pay, so you will likely never have a shortage of shopping options.
Samsung Pay + Chase Pay:
Since your Samsung Pay account can be linked with your Chase Pay account, this option opens up literally millions of shopping options for you (Samsung Pay has a much larger footprint). Linking these accounts also makes life easier because you can check-out with a tap rather than a QR scan.
Chase Pay For Business Owners
Itâs important to note that Chase Pay doesnât work when it comes to purchasing with your business accounts or under your business profile. But it may be worth your while to consider setting up Chase Pay to process in-store or online orders for your customers! Now, more than ever, customers are making more inquiries into the types of payments accepted.
According to a recent Forrester estimate, mobile payment transactions continue to skyrocket and will triple to $282.9 billion in only a few short years. That means that the expectations from customers are only going to get stronger when it comes to check-out options. It is also important to make sure you are giving your customers a choice when it comes to cashless payments.
Most of your customers donât have just one line of credit, so why limit the way they can pay you? Offering several types of payments options, including Chase Pay, for both in-store and online shopping can make things easier and more accessible for your customers.Â
Engage More Customers
Retailers are spending increasingly more time vying for customer loyalty and seeking engagement ROI through mobile, cashless payment. Here at Merchant Maverick, we like Chase Pay because it can provide some extra exposure for your business while giving customers more incentive to buy.
Depending on your industry, you may be able to take advantage of partnerships ChaseÂ has formed. For the food industry, for example, Chase has partnerships with LevelUpÂ® and TouchBistroÂ® for order-ahead, loyalty programs, and additional special offers to apply for your customers.
Grocery and retail stores can let their customers take advantage of contactless or QR payment options. Setting Chase Pay up at your store shouldnât be a hassle,Â because it likely works with your existing terminal. If your current credit card terminal accepts chip cards (EMV) the odds are good it’s also configured to accept NFC/contactless payments.
All of these options let you give your customers more convenience through pre-ordering or faster checkout. People are driven by convenience and saving time, and customer expectations are only going to increase these next few years.
Getting Started With Chase Pay
Ready to check out the Chase Pay app for yourself? Head to the Apple or Google Play app store and download the app. Youâll need to log in with your Chase account username and password. If you have more than one card through Chase, youâll also be able to select your default payment card. You will also be able to select the card you want to use when it is time to pay.
If you want to explore more payment processing options for your business, check out our post, Payment Processing Companies and Services for Small Business.Â
The post What Is Chase Pay And How Does It Work? appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
If you are a taxi driver, there is no shortage of options when it comes to accepting credit card payments from your customers. But the truth is, point of sale solutions donât all offer the same type of features and benefits. And when you consider that most customers today whip out their credit card when itâs time to pay the bill, finding the best credit card processing company for your taxi business is really important.
If you’re a taxi or ride-share driver looking for a good payment processing app, we’ve created this post just for you â read on for an overview of some of the features you may want to look out for when you choose a processing company for your taxi business. At the end of the post, we’ll also tell you which company offers the best processing features (and value) for your money — and why.
What Makes A Good Mobile Payments Processor?
Mobile App & Card Reader
Of course, the most essential thing to have when accepting payment in your taxi is good, basic functionality in the mobile app and credit card reader you’re using. First things first: Look for a reader that is compatible with the mobile device on which your software is installed â whether that is your iPhone or Android phone, iPad, or another type of tablet.
You will also want to pay attention to any costs associated with the card reader itself. Are the reader and app free to use? If not, could you get a better deal elsewhere? Read our article on the best credit card readers for more information about choosing good hardware.
As a taxi driver, the ability to accept multiple types of payments is important for the convenience of both you and your customer, but you need to be able to count on it to work wherever you are. It’s critical to choose a company that has built up an excellent reputation through reliable and secure service.
Of course, it’s critical to consider things like rates, fees, usability, and other bells and whistles that might come along with your service, so keep reading to find out more about what makes a good credit card processing solution for your taxi company.
Mobile credit card readers are built to go wherever you do, but that doesnât mean they are always going to function if your internet service gets interrupted. Since you canât always rely on the connectedness of your device, finding a credit card reader that also works offline is a must.
You may be asking, âSo how does it work if you are offline?â If a card reader has an âoffline mode,â you can still swipe payments without worrying about a spotty connection (or just re-swiping and crossing your fingers). Connection problems don’t just affect taxi drivers and other mobile businesses â they can affect brick and mortar businesses as well. Having an offline mode takes some of the worry and the hassle out of accepting payments, so you never have to worry about a disconnection interfering with a sale.
Low Processing Rates
One of the first questions anyone should ask when it comes to credit card processing is, of course, how much does it cost? After all, it is your business and your bottom line, so understanding all of the fees that come along with your service is important. Taxi drivers understand better than many business owners what high processing fees can do to earnings.
Many processing companies charge exorbitant rates per transaction, leading some people to stick to cash transactions and avoid processing credit card payments altogether. Thankfully, not all processing companies are out to screw you over â we include our best recommendation at the end of the post, so keep reading if you are curious!
Look for a company that has easy-to-understand rates, with preferably no added monthly fees. Nowadays, you also should look for freedom when it comes to contracts. As a taxi driver, you shouldnât be bullied into signing a long-term contract with any credit card processing company. In fact, a contract of that sort is often a red flag that there may be more hidden fees once they hook you, so avoid these high-pressure tactics if you can.
Educate yourself before you begin negotiations with any potential payment processor. Read our Complete Guide To Credit Card Processing Rates and Fees,Â check out our infographic on payment processing feesÂ for a visual overview, or download our free eBook, the Beginner’s Guide To Payment Processing.
Intuitive Tipping Functionality
One of the great things about accepting payments through a mobile reader is that tipping is made easy for your customers. Tips can add up to a pretty big chunk of your take-home pay if you drive cabs for a living, so pay close attention to any app you are considering when it comes to the tipping experience. Look for an app that offers up some preset tip amounts first but also allows your riders to choose a different amount if they want. When an app suggests a pre-set percentage, it removes any mental math skills and makes it even easier to tip you at the end of the ride.
Customer Experience Feedback
Another perk to check out when you are shopping around for the best mobile app for your taxi company is the feedback function. Does the app allow your customers to rate the drive or give you any input? If there are any issues, resolving them directly with you through the app is preferable to a customer posting a public review or calling your company. These customer feedback functions can also show you how you or your staff are doing each day and over timeâ and allow you to communicate with your customers about their experience directly.
Nowadays, when it comes to finding the right mobile processing app, there is so much more available than just the swipe feature. Check out some of the other services that may come along with the app, like reporting and analytics. The ability to track sales history and amounts, see peak service times, store customer data, and create other insights can be powerful tools to help you make better decisions.Â
The Best Mobile Payment App For Taxis & Ride Shares
With all of the potential benefits â and pitfalls â in mind listed above, there really is only one company that offers the whole package. When it comes to credit card readers that deliver more than just a swipe function, our favorite payment processor is Square.
Best Overall Mobile POS
Review Visit Site
No contract or monthly fee
Instant account setup
Retail upgrade available
Restaurant upgrade available
For iOS and Android mobile devices
2.75% per in-person card swipe
Retail POS:Â Free trial ($60/mo value)
Restaurant POS: Free trial ($60/mo value)
Square POS: Always free
Square has some of the lowest rates with no surprise monthly charges or hidden fees. Not only are costs low, but you can also get your funds deposited directly into your bank account in as little as one or two business days. Also, fees are the same no matter what card you take âÂ and yes you can start taking every major credit card, including American Express. With the free Square POS app, it is justÂ 2.75% per swiped, dipped, or tapped transaction — and the card reader itself is free.
We like that when you take payment, the offline feature is backing you up in the event service is interrupted. Keep in mind that with Square, no data is saved to your device, so you can be confident you are offering a fully secure and PCI compliant solution.
We also like that with Square POS, you get access to analytics that you may not have had before. For instance, the Square dashboard feature makes it easy for you to see every time you or any otherÂ driver connected to your account to process a payment with Square. At the Square dashboard, you can see this activity happening in real time. The simple charts allow you to quickly determine peak times and sales activity for each driver (or yourself), so you can make better decisions when it comes to scheduling.
If you want to check out a little bit more about Square before making a decision, check out our other resources, includingÂ How Much Does Square Charge, andÂ How Does Squareâs Instant Deposit Work? By doing a little research and checking out the features most important to you, you can find the best solution that you are comfortable with â and that makes your life a lot easier.
Free App & Reader
Square for Retail
Square for Restaurants
Free, general-purpose POS software and reader for iOS and Android
Easy integration with popular platforms plus API for customization
Specialized software for more complex retail stores
Specialized software for full-service restaurants
The post How to Accept Credit Cards For Your Taxi Business appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
As a small business owner who is launching a new shop or exploring your payment processing options, finding the right POS to accept payments is notÂ a decisionÂ to be made lightly. You probably already know that the grocery industry has its own unique rewards and challenges. Keeping up with supply and demand, getting your name out there, competing with the bigger brands, and strengthening your own brand recognition takes time, energy, and a lot of know-how. Fortunately, Square offers a fantastic POS option for markets and grocery stores that goes way beyond just the swipe.
Read on to find out how Square payment processing tools can benefit your business whether you are opening a pop-up shop, have a brick-and-mortar store, or take your culinary delights on the go to farmer’s markets and trade shows.
Squareâs Free Point-Of-Sale Reader & App
Square is best known for the free Square Point of Sale app and the free Square Reader. Square’s iconic white reader plugs into a smartphone or tablet to make mobile payments possible. The Square Point of Sale app allows you to âswipe, dip, or tap paymentsâ whether or not you have an internet signal. If you run into a spotty WiFi connection or have a service interruption, you donât have to worry about a line bottleneck because the app can securely save data offline.
For the smaller to mid-size shop, the Square Point of Sale app has everything you will need and then some. We dive into all of these features below, so keep reading for a closer look at how Square gives you better control over more parts of your business, from inventory management to sales, employees, and even more.
Weâll also take a look at how Square can also help you completely run or supplement your marketing campaigns with an all-in-one solution that can integrate a loyalty program and private customer feedback. Most of these perks (except for the loyalty program option) are all âin-the-boxâ features that you wonât pay anything more to use with your free POS Square reader. Â Letâs dig in!
Free App & Reader
Square for Retail
Square for Restaurants
Free, general-purpose POS software and reader for iOS and Android
Easy integration with popular platforms plus API for customization
Specialized software for more complex retail stores
Specialized software for full-service restaurants
One thing will never change â people love to eat. However, keeping your supply up-to-date can be a challenge when it comes to balancing the ebb and flow of demand. Your customers come in for a specific product or ingredient; making sure itâs always there for them builds loyalty and trust. Managing inventory can be tricky if you donât have the right tools.
Thankfully, Square builds inventory management right into their product, so you donât ever have to think twice about shopping around for a suite of tools. Itâs easy to set up your inventory â you can bulk import all of your products with a CSV spreadsheet and make any adjustments to name, prices, or quantities as needed. Once your inventory is saved, you can also set low-stock alerts so that Square will let you know if you’re running low on a product. The best part is that you can determine what constitutes “low stock,” whether that’s six of an item, or 100! Youâll also always be able to take a peek in real time at what â and how much â of your products are selling.
Square’s inventory also supports variants and modifiers. Variants are helpful if you carry a product that comes in different flavors or sizes — you can keep the item listing centralized, but still track quantities of each flavor or size and see which ones are most popular. You can even set different pricing for each variant, as appropriate. Modifiers are more applicable to restaurants and cafes, but if you run a small boutique store and want to upsell customers on special bundles or extra discounted products, you could add them as modifiers.
Square’s inventory system allows you to upload photos for each product, and on a tablet you can configure the layout of products. However, if you don’t like browsing for the right item, you can also attach a barcode scanner. While the free Point of Sale App doesn’t have native label printing, you can find several viable workarounds.
Also, if you sell products in bulk, it’s important to know that Square doesn’t currently support tracking partial increments of a product, or selling by weight. Again, you can find workarounds for this, one of them being the variable price point feature. With the variable price point, you can create an item and track sales, but the POS app will prompt you to enter an amount for the sale when you select the item.
Finally, if you have more than one shop, you can take advantage of the free multi-location inventory management tools. Square allows you to set up individual preferences for each location, including taxes. You can build your inventory from Square’s centralized item catalog and adjust pricing and availability as appropriate. Plus, you can run reports to see sales by location, POS device, or even by individual employee (you’ll need an Employee Management subscription for that last report.)Â
The best part is that you can control all of this — every location, all of your inventory, all of your devices — from your Square Dashboard, which is a free web portal.Â Below we also cover a little bit more about the dashboard â including how it helps you keep track of employee sales, tips, peak sales times, and more.
The Square dashboard gives you an integrated look at many aspects of your store â and these reporting and analytics features are all free. You can view your stats in real time and see what is going on in your store â or stores â simply by visiting the Sales tab in the dashboard. Whether you want to dig into the data or you just want a quick visual representation of sales, you can find what you need, fast. You can access reports, view all types of transactions, and keep track of deposits all by quickly scanning the three tabs at the top of your dashboard.
The reports tab breaks all of your data down into simple graphs and data to view aspects of your shop, including:
Sales Summary: Your sales summary report is updated in real time and can be viewed by day, month, or year.
Sales Trends: See your sales performance in daily, weekly, or yearly views.
Payments Methods: This report displays how your customers pay and any fees associated with the transaction.
Item Sales: Allows you to find out how well any individual product is selling.
Category Sales: Get a quick pie-chart view of which categories are bringing in the most sales such as appetizers, side dishes, or drinks, for example.
Employee Sales: This report breaks down tips, hours worked, and when an employeeâs sales peaked for the day. (Note: You need to subscribe to Square’s Employee Management to access these features)
Discounts: Running a promotion? This report tells you how often your customers use a discount, coupon, or another offer when they buy. (More about loyalty programs through Square later in the post.)
Taxes: This report breaks all of your tax information down by the type, amount, and records any non-taxable sales in one spot.
Square also allows you to create your own custom reports, so if you want to see certain pieces of information together, you can tell Square to compile that report for you, and even how often to send it.
Don’t forget that the Dashboard is also the centralized management hub for all of your other Square services, including invoicing, employee management or payroll, and any other tools you might be using.
Built-In Marketing Engagement
One of the interesting aspects of Square’s platform is its customer engagement tools, the foundation of which is the customer directory. With Square POS, you can keep a record of all your customers, with their name, phone number, email, purchase history,Â and even card details, if you prefer (and your customers agree to store the card on file). You don’t need to have Square’s loyalty program to activate this feature, and it comes at no charge. It’s a great way to keep notes on regular customers and their preferences, to see who your most loyal customers are and who spends the most money in your store.Â
If you’d like to build marketing campaigns to reach out to your regulars, your new customers, or even lapsed customers, Square has the tools built right in, plus all of the data right at your fingertips. Square’s marketing services start at $15/month, which is a pretty reasonable price. The price will scale with your use of the marketing services.
With the marketing tools, you can segment your customer list and target people automatically with offers to get them in the door. So whether you are welcoming a new customer or re-engaging a customer you havenât seen in a while with a with a special discount, Square lets you tailor your marketing message to people at different spots in the buying journey.
The email tools are simple â you donât have to understand how to set up multiple campaigns because Square streamlines the creation process for you through prompts. They give you a lot of template designs to choose from and even have some holiday and special occasion suggestions. You can send out a one-time email for a birthday or set up recurring email campaigns that encourage more interaction and more opportunities to buy from you — it all depends on how you want to run your business.Â
Finally, when itâs time to review the success of your email campaigns, Square reports show you how many opens and clicks you get, as well as how many people redeem your offer.
Receive & Manage Feedback Privately
The Feedback feature can be helpful if you want a way to take charge of the customer experience and try to eliminate the troubles they encounter. It allows you to personally engage your customers â while keeping everything private. When you enable feedback management, customers who receive digital receipts also receive an invite to provide private feedback about their experience.
You can then resolve any issues between just you and your customer and hopefully make them happier and engaged. The idea behind this is that it is much easier to respond to private feedback than having to keep track of and respond to negative public feedback. Most customers appreciate being acknowledged whether the experience was good or bad, and if you do have an unhappy customer, you can make it right with a full/partial refund or a coupon for a discount on their next purchase. You can check the customer database to see what their purchase history is like and make a determination of the best offer to send.Â
Best of all, the feedback management feature is totally free to use!
Square Loyalty Program
Square encourages customer engagement and sales in yet another way â a loyalty program.Â The pricing structure of Squareâs loyalty program is based on the number of loyalty visits, starting at $25/month. Costs automatically adjust with the participation of your customers, and you can always track the success of any program at your dashboard to see if youâre getting your moneyâs worth.
Square’s loyalty program is very flexible and allows you to tailor rewards to your business and your branding. You can opt for something as simple as aÂ digital punch card, where customers earn a reward after so many purchases, or you can structure a moreÂ advanced reward system that allows your customers to collect points and cash in their rewards when they want. You can even let them choose from multiple tiers — they could opt for two lower-tier rewards, or spend all their points on a single higher-tiered reward.Â
However you choose to structure your rewards program, you can track the performance on your dashboard. You can see how many customers enroll, how often customers redeem rewards, and how many subsequent repeat visits youâre getting.Â
According to Square, customers who join their loyalty programs spend 37% more after they join it. Across the board, loyalty programs continue to work for businesses of every size to encourage repeat business, and we think that itâs definitely worth giving it a try for a while and seeing if it works for your business.
Fully PCI Compliant & Secure
When dealing with credit card processing companies, one of the biggest questions most business owners have has to do with safety and security. You want to know that your data is secure and your customerâs payment information isnât going to be compromised, because when it all boils down, the burden is on you to make sure that you are PCI compliant. “PCI” is shorthand for the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (also sometimes called PCI DSS). No matter how big or small your business is, if you accept credit cards, you have to follow the best practices of the industry when it comes to security â and you can face penalties if you donât.
To remain secure and compliant for each credit card you take, you have to follow the security guidelines when you swipe, key in, store, or transmit their card data. For starters, data must be encrypted properly at each stage of processing and storage, and each year the standards change.
The whole security and compliance issue can be expensive for the smaller to midsize business, and for some, the issue is intimidating enough that they avoid credit card payments altogether.
The great news is that when Square offers you their product or service, they are taking the burden of PCI compliance on themselves when it comes to their hardware and app. Square is an industry leader in security and compliance. Their team participates on the PCI board itself and has an inside view into the ever-changing world of data security. What that means for you is that when you use Square, you donât have to jump through any other security hoops â Square maintains PCI compliance and does the work for you. You won’t even need to pay any PCI compliance fees.Â
Cost Per Swipe & Getting Started With Square
Getting started with the Square POS app and the reader you will use to swipe your customerâs cards is entirely free. Square continues to remain a favorite among small business owners because they donât charge sign-on or monthly fees for their free POS reader or app â and they donât make you sign contracts and punish you with charges if you decide itâs not for you.
If you bring your own smartphone or tablet and combine it with one of Square’s mobile card readers, you’ll pay 2.75% for each swiped, dipped, or tapped transaction. If you opt for one of Square’s all-in-one hardware systems, such as Square Terminal or Square Register, you’ll pay slightly different rates. With Square Terminal, swiped, dipped, or tapped transactions process at 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction.Â If you want to know more about all of Square’s different card readers and hardware, check out A Guide to Square’s Credit Card Readers and POS Bundles.
Considering that these are pretty low rates to begin with, and there are so many additional built-in features like dashboard analytics, invoicing, the customer database, and inventory management, we think that is a pretty sweet deal for any grocery store looking to expand.
If you are curious and want to dig even deeper, check out our Square reviewÂ or visit the Square Point of Sale page and sign up for free to see how it all works for yourself!
Free App & Reader
Square for Retail
Square for Restaurants
Free, general-purpose POS software and reader for iOS and Android
Easy integration with popular platforms plus API for customization
Specialized software for more complex retail stores
Specialized software for full-service restaurants
The post Why Square Is A Great Free POS For Markets And Grocery Stores appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
Square is best known by online sellers and brick-and-mortar shops for its secure credit card processing solutions. With a free mobile point of sale app — and free credit card reader–, Square has made it easier for the everyday small business owner to start taking credit cards. Card readers like Square’s also make it more convenient for shoppers to buy without carrying cash. That can be a win-win for everyone involved with the sale.
Because a business owner no longer has to purchase an expensive POS system to process credit card payments, itâs no wonder that the use of Square has rapidly grown over the last few years. In fact, a surprising number of businesses still did not accept credit cards at the time Square was launched. For a solo entrepreneur or a smaller shop, it used to be a lot more expensive and time-consuming to get started (not to mention more than a little intimidating, given PCI compliance and other regulations). Nowadays, you can find these portable credit card readers everywhere â from your favorite ice cream place to high-end boutiques, salons, and even consulting agencies. If youâre buying at a local shop, there is a good chance that Square is the company processing your payment.
In typical Square fashion, Square Installments provides a more accessible option for businesses that want to offer financing to their clients. If your company sells higher ticket items â from $250 to $10,000 â and youâd like to offer on-the-spot approval and financing to your customers, read on to find out more about Square Installments. But first â a little primer on customer financing.
What Is Customer Financing?
Before we dig too deep into Square Installments, letâs cover the basics of customer financing. By financing a purchase, customers can take home a product or use a service right away without paying for it in full at the time of purchase.
A common example of customer financing would be heading to the dealership and leaving with a new-to-you car â and a payment plan for the next three years to pay it off. Getting the newest version of your phone and rolling payments into your mobile phone bill is also another (more painless) way to finance an upgrade for your phone with less sticker shock.
Financing makes things a little easier on your customer, but it shouldnât require you to wait for the cash. When you offer to finance through a third-party like Square Installments, you sell your product or service and permit payment to be settled directly between the lender (in this case Square Capital) and your customer. Square pays you in full at the time of purchase.
Financing customers is all about convenience and accessibility. For your customers, financing can make large ticket items easier to purchase with predictable monthly payments spread out over time. Instead of shelling out the entire lump sum, they have more time to pay. This makes for an easier sell for your salesperson and a more comfortable decision for your customer.
When a purchaser thinks about what they are buying in terms of monthly vs. the total amount of dollars, financing can significantly lower the âsticker shock.â Giving purchasing flexibility to your customers will make buying from you a more attractive and accessible option â and of course, thatâs good for your business, too.
Companies that invoice monthly payments for ongoing services are also offering a financing option to their clients, in a way. Yet anyone who has a business model based on retainers or monthly agreements knows that sometimes when the bill comes due, it doesnât always get paid â possibly because the person you invoiced has bad credit or is in financial trouble. These issues can be virtually nonexistent when you let Square Installments pre-screen and approve your clients â and take on the financial risk.
Read on to find out how Square Installments works and how much it costs so you can decide if Square Installments services are right for you.
How Does Square Installments Work?
There are two ways you can use Square Installments for your business: at the point of sale or via Square Invoices. Once you sign up for Square Installments, your business will get a custom URL. This web address is just for your business and is the link youâll send to every customer who wants to apply for financing.
The Square Installments Process For In-Store Sales
Once you share the link with your customer, they’ll follow the instructions from their smartphone and fill out a short online application. In almost all scenarios, customer approval happens in real time, right when theyâre ready to purchase at your shop.
If approved, they can accept one of the financing options on offer and will receive a one-time-use number for a digital card they use to pay you for their purchase. The number is valid for seven days, and your customer can only redeem it at your business.
When your customer is ready to buy, theyâll present you with the digital card number given to them by Square Installments; you will key that number directly into your Square Point of Sale app, online through Square API, or through your virtual terminal.
Square pays you in full for the amount at the time you process the approved application.
Square Invoices From Square Installments
Square Invoices allows you to send your customers invoices through Square as well. After you are approved and set up, the option for installment payments will appear on your invoice automatically. Once your customers receive your invoice, the process is similar to the one above â they fill out an online application, can pick a plan, and once approved, you get paid upfront and in full.
To spread the word, Square will also sendÂ you some free marketing material â both in print and in the form of a banner for your website so your customers wonât miss this new option for buying with you.
You Donât Need To Be A Financing Expert
Worried about the fine print and fielding financing questions? Donât be. If your customers have questions about Square Installments, they’ll contact Square directly. In fact, because this is considered a âhighly regulated financial product,â itâs essential to pass any questions or concerns off to Squareâs own customer service folks. And of course, this arrangement means youâre not burdened with the nitty-gritty details of financing or payment collection.
How Much Does Square Installments Cost?
If youâre a business owner considering whether or not the cost is worth the convenience of the service, here are some figures to help you crunch the math.
Square Installments for Square Invoices costs 2.9% of the purchase price plus $0.30 per transaction. Square Installments at your Point of Sale costs 3.5% of the purchase price plus $0.15 per transaction. If a custom rate applies to your business for keyed-in Square Invoices transactions, this rate also applies to any Square Installments transactions.
The good news is that there are no recurring monthly usage fees or long-term commitments. You can cancel the service any you time want with no fees or contracts for your business to worry about.
For a customer who is considering using Square Installments to pay for a purchase, the annual percentage rate will vary depending on a few different factors. However, every customer will have more three options when it comes to repaying the loan. Square makes things upfront and easy to understand for the borrower, with ease of use in mind.
Should You Use Square Installments?
The main benefit of Square Installments is that customers can pay over time — making them more likely to buy and making your business more likely to sell more inventory. Whether to break up payments for a big purchase that a customer normally couldnât afford, or simply to offer a convenient option other than cash or checks, financing through Square Installments can be a valuable tool for your sales team to leverage.
When the average business owner thinks about customer financing, one of the biggest concerns is that the customer gets possession of the product or service without paying in full. While that may be a concern if you offer in-store financing and manage it yourself, in this case, Square takes on the financial risk entirely. You get paid right away and let Square manage the installments.
There are some important things to keep in mind when you consider whether Square Installments services are right for your business, however. As noted above, Square Installments isnât free. Also, keep in mind that Square Installments is only applicable for purchases between $250 and $10,000 â so businesses that deal with higher ticket products or services will need to consider other options for financing.
When you make the final decision to use Square Installments, consider the benefits vs. the costs. Here are a few questions to ask:
Would your target market and current customers likely make the purchase anyway? (In other words: How âwarmâ or âcoldâ are the people who come to your online sales page or place of business?)
Does opening up financing options also open up the possibility of a new target customer or a larger final sale?
If you send out invoices, will Square Installments give you a more convenient or secure option to take secure payments and prescreen users, despite the cost?
For any business owner, the benefits and conveniences should outweigh the cost of Square Installments per sale. Because you donât need to sign any long-term contracts to use Square Installments, it might be worth it to try the service for a bit, see what you think, and compare sales over the next few sales cycles to be sure either way.
Learn More About Square
While you consider whether or not you want to jump in and offer Square Installments as an option for your customers, check out some of the other reviews for Square services. Find out how much Square charges for their primary services and get armed with more information about Square processing to see if these payment options are right for your business. If you want to see the service for yourself, sign up for a free Square account today and check it out!
Free App & Reader
Square for Retail
Square for Restaurants
Free, general-purpose POS software and reader for iOS and Android
Easy integration with popular platforms plus API for customization
Specialized software for more complex retail stores
Specialized software for full-service restaurants
The post How Does Customer Financing With Square Installments Work? appeared first on Merchant Maverick.